Performance art. Gallery art. Public art. It all awaits you this weekend, June 1-3 as the family-friendly Salem Arts Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary. And you are a most welcome guest!!!
“It’s hard to believe how far this festival has come in 10 years. So much conscious work and collaboration across organizations and disciplines has been done over the years to create a one-of-a-kind event, truly unique to Salem,” says Kylie Sullivan, Executive Director of Salem Main Streets (SMS), the community non-profit that founded the Festival.
The Salem Arts Festival kicks off with an opening reception at Salem’s Old Town Hall on Friday, June 1st at 6 p.m. The free event allows visitors to enjoy beautiful art work in the juried gallery while being entertained by renowned local and regional performers Betsy Miller Dance Projects, High Meadow Howlers, Samba Viva, and headliners Los Sugar Kings.
Over the weekend, this free celebration of arts, culture, creativity and community will feature over 200 artists and performers, and includes a variety of art, music, dance, and theatre performances. Public activities include onsite art-making for all ages, local artist vendors selling their creations, a juried art exhibition and a community-built public art installation.
Arts Festival Locations
The Salem Arts Festival takes place in the heart of Salem at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues. Primary locations include Old Town Hall, Derby Square, Front Street, and Artists’ Row. A Juried Art Show, sponsored by Peabody Essex Museum will be held in Old Town Hall throughout the festival, with an artist street fair in the area around the building on Saturday and Sunday
Live performances will take place (weather permitting) on Derby Square and Front Street. The event is rain or shine; in the event of inclement weather, performances will be moved into Old Town Hall and Front Street Coffeehouse.
This year, Creative Collective, a locally based creative organization that connects creativity, community and commerce joins SMS as Salem Arts Festival organizer, founder and Chief Creative Officer John Andrews says “Partnering with Salem Main Streets made so much sense to the collective, and as we watch the growth of the creative economy and learn more every day how important support of the arts and culture are to healthy, safe and vibrant communities we are honored to be partnering with and fostering the 10th anniversary of the festival.”
One of the most anticipated events this year is “Bee to Brick”, our fifth collaborative public art project, this year led by Salem artists Kate Babcock and Jen Platt. Bee to Brick will install playful swarms of several hundred “bees” around the festival area, created entirely out of recycled plastic bottles and other reusable plastic pollution.
Over the past few months, community groups and locals of all ages have created hundreds of bees in an effort to increase awareness of the critical role pollinators play in sustaining our ecosystem. After the project, the bees will be transformed to “bricks” that will be used be students from the Phoenix School for their “Bottle Brick Project.”
The Salem Arts Festival also celebrates the third annual “Mural Slam” on Artists’ Row this year, organized by the City of Salem’s Public Art Commission and Public Art Planner Deborah Greel. Murals will be painted throughout the weekend by 10 selected artists and will be completed by the end of the festival. The murals will remain to bring vibrancy to Downtown Salem throughout the year.
The goal of the Salem Arts Festival is to promote all the arts in Salem and to provide the entire North Shore arts community with an opportunity to showcase their talents. SAF is organized by Salem Main Streets, the Creative Collective, and a collaboration of Salem organizations, including the City of Salem, Salem State University, Salem Food Tours, the Phoenix School, Salem Public Space Project, the Salem YMCA, Peabody Essex Museum, and the Salem Arts Association.
The Salem Arts Festival is supported in part by a grant from the Salem Cultural Council and an additional grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Support for the annual Fest Fundraiser was provided by Salem Five Bank and by the gracious support of its other creative partners, including Retonica Event Lighting, The Scarlet Letter Press, and Octocog Marketing and Design.
Visitors interested in attending the Salem Arts Festival can find easy access to the downtown by public transportation or parking at one of the many downtown lots in the City. For more information and for the full festival schedule, please visit www.salemartsfestival.com.
A special thanks to over 30 businesses that supported the 10th anniversary of the festival through financial support and other means, the list of supporters can be found on the festival website.
Winner of Best Arts Festival in the 2017 Best of the North Shore (BONS) awards, the Salem Arts Festival strives to showcase and support as many artists, creatives and performers as possible on an annual basis and throughout the year.
We hope to see you join the celebration this weekend in Salem Ma!